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I worked for other toxic bosses too

I once had a toxic micromanager as my boss. At first I found it difficult and disturbing. But over time I managed to become thick skinned, and as I said to my colleagues and my team, his attention to unnecessary detail and constant bickering about nothing, “flowed off me like water off the back of a duck.” Not all my colleagues were able to do this though and they suffered working under him.

In the end, he micromanaged only the things which he thought were important. This was communications with headquarters. I was able to anticipate what he would ask for, and plan the extra micromanagement time that I had to spend, redoing forecasts and plans before sending them off.

He was a manger who got things done and brought financial success to the organisation so stayed in his position for many years. The company knew he was a toxic manager but decided that the suffering of the employees working for him was just too bad for them.

I also worked for a toxic bully manager. He enjoyed making people who showed fear become terrified. Because I stood up to him and never showed any weakness when talking to him, he acted like a normal competent manager. As soon as he thought anyone was intimidated, he would jump in and become aggressive to make it worse.

My favourite story about him happened one day when he flew into a rage about nothing in particular with a young secretary, who happened to be in his office. There were witnesses. I was one of them.

She kept calm in front of this tirade and announced,

“I refuse to be treated like this, I resign.”

And she walked quietly out of the office, left the company and never came back.

This person changed my toxic bully boss forever. I never saw him shout at anyone ever again. I suspect that the bully in him was so humiliated with witnesses watching his defeat, that he stopped this behaviour.

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